Category Archives: Chinese Speaking

You ask; we answer!

Q: Hi, I’m a beginner student of Chinese and have been studying Chinese on and off for the past year. I’ve found that there are many different ways of saying the days of the week like xingqiyi or libaiyi and there’s also ri. Which one should I use and what is the difference between them? Read More…

Top 10! Tools for learning characters and vocabulary

Our students often ask us: what are some good, free resources for studying Chinese? We are here to answer those questions! These days, there are plenty of  resources for studying Chinese available, some better than others, some paid, some for free. To make things easier for you, we have broken them down into separate categories, and we’ve Read More…

I speak Chinese. But which?

I am sure that all of our readers are already aware of the fact that the term ‘Chinese’ (language) refers to more than one variant of the language. Usually, people refer to standard Chinese 普通话 (PǔTōngHuà), also known as Mandarin Chinese, which is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan, is one of four Read More…

You ask; we answer!

Recently, one of our students asked us this question: “Chinese grammar is proving to be a challenge! The difference between the subject of the verb and the object is often not clear to me. For example, I have seen both the following as greetings when you first meet someone… Jian dao wo hen gaoxing. Jian Read More…

Waiter, a cup of Kafei please!

Languages have always influenced each other and this influence is most notable in vocabulary. They frequently borrow words from each other and with time we might even forget where they original word came from in the first place. English language, especially, is prone to absorption of new words whether from Japanese like ‘samuari’, Spanish ‘taco’, Read More…

Question about Mandarin Lesson 4

A student asks: I am going over lesson 4 and a little confused about when to use ‘le’ or “mei” for past tense. Could I say either ” Ni chi le ne?” or “Ni chi mei chi?” – both meaning “Did you eat?” I’m also not sure about the use of “you” – Ni qu Read More…

How to: Start Speaking Chinese and Get Going

No matter what your starting point is, a university student 大学生 (DàXuéShēng), self-learner 自学 (ZìXué), or a devoted spouse of a Chinese native, get ready for some awkwardness 尴尬 (GānGà). Your first Chinese syllables uttered for the audience of at least “you + 1” (the mirror doesn’t count), will most probably turn out to be a Read More…

Taxi Talk

  For visitors (foreigners), taxis (出租车 ChūZūChē) in China are a relatively safe and inexpensive method of transportation. Different cities offer different fares, with Shanghai and Beijing unsurprisingly topping the charts. Shanghai taxis have a 14 RMB starting fee, while Beijing chargers 13 RMB for the first three kilometres, but with the additional one-kuai (块 Read More…

Onomatopoeia

Such a funny word, onomatopoeia – all those vowels huddled together make it rather tricky to pronounce it (I don’t know about you, but I always end pronouncing it as if I was giving dictation to a six-year old). Going back to the subject, no surprise, today there’s going to be talk about words or Read More…

TOP 100: Chinese Names

  Ever heard of the expression 老百姓 (LǎoBǎiXìng)? Translated word by word this phrase means the “old one hundred names”; taken as a whole, it means “common people”. Interesting, huh? Well, this stems from the fact that the number of surnames in China is very limited with around 4000 surnames in total to choose from. Read More…

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